Creamy Polenta with Beef Marsala

A few years back I was fortunate enough to have dinner at Miami’s Scarpetta. The food was to… die…
for! But one of my favorite dishes that night was their creamy polenta with fricassee of truffles
mushrooms. I’ve tried to complement polenta with different flavors throughout the years, however this was truly one of the best combinations. 

So, when dinner time came around on Sunday night and I glanced at the contents of my fridge I attempted to make a variation on this old favorite of mine and although it wasn’t a copy it didn’t disappoint and was incredibly filling. The whole dish was a bit point heavy but if you’ve have a light day it’s worth the splurge  

Creamy Polenta with Marsala Beef

Yield: 1 serving  

Smart Points: 13


To make the Polenta:

3 tbsp. finely ground corn meal
(finely ground corn meal will cut down cooking time drastically) 

1 c. water

2 tbsp. whole milk

1 tbsp. grated parmesan

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix the cornmeal with about ¼ cup of water and set aside. This step will prevent the cornmeal
from turning into lumps when cooking.

2. Bring the water and milk to a boil and add salt. Add the cornmeal and stir constantly until the
cornmeal reaches your desired consistency (this should only take a few minutes with the fine ground cornmeal, if using a coarser ground, it will take longer to cook).  

3. Turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning if needed.

4. Place in a serving bowl.

To make the beef:

6 oz. trimmed flank steak

¼ c. onion, sliced

1 tsp. garlic, minced

3-4 mushrooms, sliced 

Cooking spray

4 oz. low sodium beef broth

2 tbsp. marsala cooking wine

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Season the beef with salt and pepper, place in a slow cooker with the sliced onions and garlic.
Cook on high until the beef is fork tender, about 3-4 hours. Shred the beef and set aside.

2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and sauté mushrooms until golden. Add the beef broth
and cook for a few minutes and then add the marsala wine and cook for a few minutes more.

3. Add the beef to the sauce and stir until it is coated.

4. Top the polenta with the beef and serve. 

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Chicken Burrito Bowl

I haven’t always been a big fan of bowls, but I’ve been changing my tune after seeing how convenient they are. I made this Chicken Burrito Bowl in about 30 minutes of total cooking time and of course any of the ingredients can be substituted or additional ingredients can be added (substitutions/additions may change the smart points value).

Chicken Burrito Bowl 

Yield: 1 serving

8 Smart Points 

1 c. Cooked Brown Rice (4sp)

1/3 c. Seasoned Black Beans (I used canned beans) (2sp)

3 oz. Chicken Breast, Seasoned and Grilled

½ oz. Queso Fresco (1sp)

½ c. Pico de Gallo (0sp, recipe follows)

¼ c. Pickled Onions (0sp, recipe follows)

1 tbsp. Cilantro, Chopped

For the Pico De Gallo

½ c. Tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice

2 tsp. Cilantro, Chopped

Salt, To Taste

Mix all ingredients and set aside

For the Pickled Onions

1 c. Hot Water

½ c. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar

1-1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

½ Red Onion, Thinly Sliced

Mix the water, apple cider vinegar, granulated sugar, and kosher salt until the sugar and salt dissolve.

Place sliced onion in a jar and pour vinegar mixture over; let sit at room temperature for at least one hour. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

For the Burrito Bowl

Place the brown rice, black beans, chicken breast, pico de gallo, and pickled onions in a bowl.

Top with crumbled queso fresco and chopped cilantro